News Of The World [2017 Su­per Deluxe Edi­tion]

Australian HIFI - - ON TEST -

The en­try price here is swollen sig­nif­i­cantly by the in­clu­sion of ex­pen­sively au­then­tic press packs, posters, a 60-page book of ‘mostly pre­vi­ously un­seen pho­to­graphs’, even a replica AAA US tour 1977 lam­i­nate, whereas those here mainly for the mu­sic might have pre­ferred more vinyl (one LP only, of the orig­i­nal al­bum), or at least a high-res down­load voucher, while the one-hour video doc­u­men­tary (made by Bob Har­ris and the BBC’s ‘Old Grey Whis­tle Test’ team) is of­fered on DVD rather than Blu-ray— though to be fair, the video qual­ity makes that a rea­son­able choice. The mu­sic it­self is, how­ever, thrilling through­out. The orig­i­nal al­bum is pre­sented on vinyl and CD, sourced from the Bob Lud­wig 2011 re­mas­ter, the LP a stun­ningly silent top-qual­ity press­ing, ballsy and ex­pan­sive from en­try groove to exit, and cleanly de­liv­er­ing all the vari­a­tions in pro­duc­tion be­tween, say, the edg­ily engi­neered peaks of Get Down Make Love and the chestier re­hearsal-room acous­tic of Sleep­ing On The Side­walk. The full set leaves no doubt as to this al­bum’s mas­ter­work sta­tus, with the band at a peak of con­fi­dence and creative con­trasts, all four song­writ­ers in ac­tion to cre­ate the dy­namic range of com­po­si­tion be­tween the punk-fin­ger­ing Sheer Heart At­tack, the all-time an­thems of We Will Rock You and We Are The Cham­pi­ons, the soul-shiv­er­ing sad­ness of All Dead All Dead. This last is a high­light of the sec­ond CD’s raw mixes and al­ter­na­tive ver­sions, since it presents an en­tirely dif­fer­ent vo­cal by Fred­die, whereas Brian May sang the re­leased ver­sion. in­deed un­like many tracks on the Led Zep­pelin ‘com­pan­ion’ al­bums re­leased in re­cent years, all the al­ter­nates here are of real qual­ity and dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion, and to have an early vo­cal take of the multi-move­ment It’s Late sim­ply re­in­forces the song’s mag­nif­i­cence, de­spite it be­ing lit­tle-known amongst such a pro­fu­sive Queen canon. The third disc brings to­gether live and ses­sion record­ings from this pe­riod (and for­ward some­what to 1982’s Mil­ton Keynes Bowl con­cert), and again these are all keep­ers, not merely one-play side-shows. It’s a big in­vest­ment even for fans, but it’s great to see this LP get­ting the treat­ment it de­serves 40 years for­ward from a punk-pe­riod lash­ing. “So you’re the bloke that’s sup­posed to be bring­ing bal­let to the masses?” sneered Sid Vi­cious when en­coun­ter­ing Mer­cury in the cor­ri­dors of Wes­sex Stu­dios dur­ing the record­ing. “Ah, Mr Fe­ro­cious!” re­torts Fred­die, “well, we’re try­ing our best!” And their best this is.

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